Richard Schoeck was a man of many interests with many friends.
As an artist, hot-air balloonist, motorcycle rider, handyman and scout leader, Schoeck cultivated friendships from all over, his sister, Carol Fillingim, said.
“He was into a lot of different things with a lot of different people,” she said.
Dozens wrote condolences on an online obituary guest book after Schoeck, 46, was shot to death on Valentine’s Day, a murder that remains unsolved.
Wrote one former co-worker, “The one thing I’ll never forget about him is his contagious smile and that he always had a story to share. He was a true gentleman.”
There have been no arrests in Schoeck’s murder at the remote Belton Bridge Park in northern Hall County. Schoeck, who lived in Snellville, drove his white Ford F-250 truck to the small, unpaved patch of land on the banks of the Chattahoochee River to meet his wife, Stacey, who was driving from Cleveland.
Stacey Schoeck called 911 at about 9:30 p.m. to report finding her husband lying dead beside his truck. He was shot several times.
Schoeck’s family members are struggling to make sense of the killing.
“We don’t have any ideas,” his sister said. “We were totally blown away by it. That’s basically all you can say. We’ve been in shock.”
Richard Schoeck’s mother, Marion Schoeck, said she feels Hall County Sheriff’s investigators “are doing their best.”
“I know it’s not going to take just a short time to find out who did it,” she said. “We’re trying to be patient and not come knocking on the door of the police trying to find something out every day. We’re trying to be as patient and helpful as we can.”
Hall County Sheriff’s Col. Jeff Strickland said there was no new information to release on the case, but that it is “ongoing.”
“It’s still a very active investigation, and we’re still following leads and reviewing forensic evidence,” Strickland said.
A native of Columbus, Schoeck moved to Snellville around the time he married Stacey Schoeck in September 2007, his mother said.
A graduate of Auburn University with a degree in art, he previously worked as a graphic designer for the Yellow Pages in Atlanta. At the time of his death, he was a facilities manager for a new doctor’s building at Gwinnett Medical Center. His wife works as an administrator at a neurosurgery clinic.
Schoeck adopted his wife’s two youngest sons from a previous marriage, ages 8 and 12, and was heavily involved in scouting with them, his sister said.
He painted one of his adopted son’s bedroom in a theme based on the animated film “Finding Nemo,” she said.
He also designed posters for various organizations and was quick to lend a hand if something broke down in a friend’s home, she said.
“He was very handy,” his mother said. “You might say he was a jack of all trades, master of none.”
“He would help anybody do anything,” his sister said. “And he kept lifelong friends.”
For a time, Schoeck was a hot-air balloon enthusiast. In recent years, he enjoyed riding motorcycles with his wife into the North Georgia mountains, sometimes with the children on the back. Most recently, he and his wife ran a weeklong scouting camp.
Since his death, family members have been surprised by the number of people reaching out through the Internet to express their condolences, Fillingim said.
“We’re heard from people that knew him in elementary school to people who knew him at every single place he worked,” she said. “I didn’t realize how many people knew him so well. It’s because he was so helpful and outgoing.”
As time stretches on without an arrests, Fillingim said she has faith that investigators are doing their jobs, “and we know they have to do them correctly, or things could get botched.”
“We just want them to find the person so this doesn’t happen again,” she said.